Ashley Van Boxtel isn’t well known in North Central.
Fans were surprised when the 26-year-old athlete appeared at the top of the North Central Leaderboard with a score of 202 reps on 13.1.
So, who’s this new athlete who can out-snatch and out-burpee Elisabeth Akinwale and Deborah Cordner Carson?
She’s a North East transplant, and she’s no rookie to CrossFit competition.
In 2011, she had a promising start to the season with a 4th place finish in the North East in the Open. Later, at the 2011 North East Regional, she came in 12th. The next year, she moved to North Central and took a break from individual competition.
“Last year, I had no intention of competing as an individual in the North Central Regional. It was a transition time for me as I was trying to complete my doctorate in physical therapy, study for the boards, find a job, a place to live and maintain my sanity,” she says.
Now, she’s settled and ready to turn her attention to the CrossFit Games. For the last two years, she has refined her approach to training to reflect the demands of Regional competition.
“I changed my training by increasing the intensity with each workout and implementing a more consistent strength program. I also spent extra time working on weaknesses to develop myself into a better-rounded competitor,” she explains.
Grant Soletski, the owner of CrossFit Green Bay, says that they've recently added daily Olympic lifting practice. She's making gains in both lifts, and Soletski credits her development to her receptiveness, and ability to quickly respond, to coaching.
"When I see a flaw, I can yell across the room to her and boom! It’s corrected. A lot of athletes have a tough time making that correction in the heat of the moment … she does not,” Soletski says.
So far, her training seems to be paying off.
Before she started the 17 minutes of burpees and snatches, she set a goal of 195 reps. To get there, she committed to relaxing her breathing and continuing to move for the full time allotted.
“As the workout progressed, I was definitely tired, but I felt that I was making good time to be where I wanted to be going into the 120-lb. snatches,” she says.
To her surprise, she was able to hit her goal of 195 with time and energy to spare. She knocked out seven more reps before the clock hit 17 minutes.
She was just trying to live up to her box’s expectations, she explains.
“My CrossFit family at CrossFit Green Bay always has expectations of me because they have seen what I am capable of,” she says. “They know I always give 110 percent, and that’s exactly what I did … I think everyone at they gym was more excited about my performance in 13.1 than I was.”
While she’s happy with her performance, she knows the Open and the CrossFit Games season, demands more than one great performance. One hit wonders will pop up each week, but only the consistent finishers will make it to Regionals.
“I was pleased that I surpassed my goal, but I know that this is just a small piece of the puzzle. I have a lot of work ahead of me,” she says.